This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like
-- David Corn, co-author with Michael Isikoff of HUBRIS: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War
, writes about what waterboarding
is and what the torturer's tools look like. Back in the day, the Khmer Rouge, among other repressive regimes, used it. Interestingly, waterboarding typically isn't employed to gain useful information. No, this near-drowning technique is most useful for eliciting "confessions". Good times, good times.
( via reddit via Diggdot.us
posted by mooncrow
on Sep 29, 2006 -
Does the tolerance for abuses committed during the “war on terrorism” have any implications for the health of democracy at home?Six Questions on the American “Gulag” for Historian Kate Brown
The President’s broad new powers in the signing statements that enable him to override Congress have corroded the American system of checks and balances. American law enforcement agencies can now wiretap American civilians and detain citizens and permanent residents without charges, and consequently without evidence. Last week the House passed legislation to build a 700-mile Israeli-style fence on the U.S.–Mexico border and to deploy there many of the surveillance technologies tested in Iraq. Perhaps the domestic installation of wartime technologies and military surveillance in civilian settings has become acceptable to us because we have become accustomed, as Soviet citizens did during the endless Stalinist purges, to open-ended wars—wars with no opening salvo and no concluding treaty. Whether or not one agrees that American detention centers and secret prisons are the “Gulag of our time,” the comparison deserves serious consideration. It might help us shine a torch into the dark corners of repression, where the totalitarian qualities of our own society lurk, before the scale of violence ascends to Gulag dimensions.
See also Bush seeks immunity for violating War Crimes Act
posted by y2karl
on Sep 24, 2006 -
After two months of sifting the information, Hegland had her answer. 'The data was really clear,' she says. 'It was mind-boggling.' It showed that most of the detainees hadn’t been caught 'on the battlefield' but rather mostly in Pakistan; fewer than half were accused of fighting against the U.S., and there was scant evidence to confirm that they were even combatants. In other words, most of the detainees probably were entirely innocent. Just a few days after Hegland published a three-part series on her findings in early February, a law professor at Seton Hall University... and his son, ...who together have represented Guantanamo detainees, published a study that also used the Defense Department’s own data... Only 8 percent of detainees at Guantanamo were labeled by the Defense Department as 'al Qaeda fighters,' they found, and just 11 percent had been captured 'on the battlefield' by coalition forces.Who are the Prisoners at Gitmo?
posted by y2karl
on Sep 19, 2006 -
Yesterday, the Arar Commission released their report
on the handling of the Maher Arar case, previously mentioned here
. The findings are widely reported
; Canada is self-flagellating
for being complicit in the United States' abduction and torture
of a Canadian citizen. As President Bush goes to Congress to lobby for the legal authority to abduct and torture anyone without a trial
, Arar should consider himself lucky: although Canada didn't help him out for a year, the Canadian government and news media were aware of and interested in his confinement, which likely saved him from the worst tortures. As a famous legal scholar commented
some 240 years ago, "To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail
, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."
posted by jellicle
on Sep 19, 2006 -
Most everybody's asleep in Grover's Corners. There are a few lights on: Shorty Hawkins, down at the depot, has just watched the Albany train go by. And at the livery stable somebody's setting up late and talking. -- Yes, it's clearing up. There are the stars - doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven't settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk... or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain's so bad
that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.
Hm... Eleven o'clock in Grover's Corners. -- You get a good rest,
too. Good night.
posted by orthogonality
on Sep 18, 2006 -
Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors.
Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us
to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
posted by amberglow
on Sep 10, 2006 -
has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet
of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment
," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
posted by EarBucket
on Jun 5, 2006 -
Two years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, new research shows that abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay has been widespread, and that the United States has taken only limited steps to investigate and punish implicated personnel. A briefing paper issued today, 'By the Numbers,' presents findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project... the first comprehensive accounting of credible allegations of torture and abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. The project has collected hundreds of allegations of detainee abuse and torture occurring since late 2001 – allegations implicating more than 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel and involving more than 460 detainees. U.S.: More Than 600 Implicated in Detainee Abuse
See also Projected Iraq War Costs Soar
, See also The Trillion Dolllar War
posted by y2karl
on Apr 27, 2006 -
Let me tell you what we're gonna do.
We're gonna put them handcuffs in front of ya. Cut you a little slack. But if you don't start operating, we're gonna put the mother fuckers behind your back, and I'm gonna take this slapjack and I'm gonna start working that head over, you understand? ...you sign this son of a bitch, or I'm gonna hit you again.
. .pdf transcript
. Full Story
posted by Kwantsar
on Apr 25, 2006 -
Cofer Black, Director of the CIA Counterterrorism center until May 2002 said before the 9/11 commission: “All I want to say is that there was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off… ‘No Limits’ aggressive, relentless, worldwide pursuit of any terrorist who threatens us is the only way to go…”
Since that time there have been allegations of abduction and indefinite detention
in secret prisons abroad
, abuse in prisons within the U.S.
and the suppression of evidence
of coercion overseas in confessions in U.S. courts. (Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
). In addition to Amnesty Int’l, it’s getting the U.S. some UN attention
posted by Smedleyman
on Apr 7, 2006 -
Abu Ghraib, continued.
A new cache of disturbing images and videos from the original interrogations, with commentary from Salon. [Definitely NSFW, or for Earth, for that matter.]
posted by digaman
on Mar 14, 2006 -
Getting Away with Murder
A new Human Rights First report [PDF]
"provides the first comprehensive accounting" of the 98 cases of detainees who have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2002. "Thirty-four deaths were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition...Only 12 deaths have resulted in any kind of punishment
." Most of the people behind the abuse
have been promoted. The Washington Post concludes
that, based on the report, US policy seems to be that torturing a foreign prisoner to death is excusable, but getting photographed doing it will get you in trouble.
posted by kirkaracha
on Feb 28, 2006 -
Five Reasons Torture Is Always Wrong.
From the magazine "Christianity Today", David P. Gushee, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, is against torture. Period. No exceptions. Complete with Bible verses to prove it.
posted by willmize
on Jan 27, 2006 -
Bush could bypass new torture ban
[From the here-we-go-again department. ]
When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.
posted by Postroad
on Jan 4, 2006 -
A Disturbance in the Blogosphere: Publishing the UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memo.
Braving arrest, bloggers
have broken the UK’s law of silence with the truth about torture.
Bloggers are mass publishing the leaked UK/US/Uzbekistan Torture Memos. The memos are from the correspondences of Craig Murray who was the United Kingdom's ambassador to Uzbekistan.
These memos are evidence and a memorandum of record outlining the rendition and torture of US-arrested prisoners in Uzbekistan.
From Craig Murray's Memo:
12. On the usefulness of the material obtained, this is irrelevant. Article 2 of the [UN] Convention, to which we are a party, could not be plainer: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
13. Nonetheless, I repeat that this material is useless – we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful.
posted by Dunvegan
on Dec 29, 2005 -
At last, someone is going to take the legal route.
Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA Agents suspected of involvement in the US kidnap/torture policy. "The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said."
That's more lost clients for the European tourist industry.
posted by cassbrown1
on Dec 24, 2005 -
Barbarism begins with Barbie —
the doll, that is. Research done at the University of Bath (UK) posits that prepubescents' pre-eminent plasticine plaything provokes disproportionate punishment. According to the study, which originally focused on the effects of branding on young consumers, the statuesque Mattel mini-miss seems to attract undue savagery. "The researchers had not intended to focus on Barbie, but they were taken aback by the rejection, hatred and violence she provoked when they asked the children about their feelings for the doll. Violence and torture against Barbie were repeatedly reported across age, school and gender. No other toy or brand name provoked such a negative response."
posted by rob511
on Dec 19, 2005 -
The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat.
. . . .
When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.
Vladimir Bukovsky, "who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities," explains
how America's use of torture "will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East."
posted by orthogonality
on Dec 18, 2005 -
The US has admitted
for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody. Meanwhile, the German citizen picked up by the CIA and tortured in one of the secret prisons, based solely on having the same name as a suspected terrorist, would really, really like an apology
If you think things are getting out of hand, why not join the Amnesty International Write-a-thon
? You can get the message across to the people in charge and let them know that you don't support prisoner abuse or rendition to secret prisons.
posted by Dag Maggot
on Dec 9, 2005 -
Abuse in Iraq Now Worse Then Under Saddam
'People are doing the same as [in] Saddam's time and worse,' [Iraq Prime Minister] Ayad Allawi told The Observer. 'It is an appropriate comparison. People are remembering the days of Saddam. These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.'
Let's see ... no WMDs, no al-Queda ties, and now this. I'm so glad that we are making Iraq a better place.
posted by robhuddles
on Nov 27, 2005 -
The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 12, 2005 -
'Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States.
It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. US law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a ‘state of public emergency’) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.’ (Report of the United States to the UN Committee against Torture, October 15, 1999, UN Doc. CAT/C/28/Add.5, February 9, 2000, para. 6.)
posted by alms
on Nov 9, 2005 -
Has the C.I.A. legally killed prisoners? Two years ago, Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspected Iraqi insurgent, walked into a Baghdad interrogation room. He was dead in 45 minutes, his head covered with a plastic bag, shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that led to his asphyxiation. U.S. authorities classified his death a homicide. His CIA interrogator has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency.
President Bush says "We do not torture."
But if that’s true, then why is Vice President Cheney fighting to exempt CIA interrogators from a torture ban?
And al-Jamadi? His case is stalled in the Alberto Gonzalez
Justice Department, two years after soldiers posed for thumbs-up pictures next to his corpse.
posted by sacre_bleu
on Nov 9, 2005 -
Cheyney the Torturer?
According to Dan Froomkin
today, Lawrence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to the secretary of state) said that he had uncovered a "visible audit trail" tracing the practice of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers directly back to Vice President Cheney's office.
posted by shiska
on Nov 4, 2005 -
President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, once asked of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan: “What is most important to the history of
the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” Today, the Bush administration is implicitly arguing a similar point: that the establishment of a democratic Iraqi state is a project of overriding importance for the United States and the world, which in due course will eclipse memories of the
insurgency. But such a viewpoint minimizes the fact that the war in Iraq is already breeding a new generation of terrorists. The lesson of the decade of terror that
followed the Afghan war was that underestimating
the importance of blowback has severe consequences. Repeating the mistake in regard to Iraq could lead to
even deadlier outcomes...Blowback Revisited
Rest assured, torture is a gift which will keep on giving back to us--for years.
posted by y2karl
on Nov 3, 2005 -